Hot Market: The Yak About Yakima, Washington

Written by Posted On Thursday, 28 February 2008 16:00

The city of Yakima, Washington, has capitalized on its agricultural history to create an agribusiness economy that’s pushing up prices on homes in the Central Washington region. Lewis and Clark noted in their northwest expedition there that the valley was full of wildlife and rich soil. Soon thereafter, settlers moved in and established the beginnings of an agricultural industry that continues today. The region is known for its production of various fruits and vegetables, and its wineries.

Currently, the area has the second-best home price appreciation in the country. Sales are modest, as is the cost of living, with single family homes pricing in at an average of $162,000, which is more than 50 percent higher than the median sales price in the year 2000. The National Association of Realtors reports the 4th quarter of 2007 saw median sales prices increase by 18 percent over the same period a year earlier.

The Housing Affordability Index for Yakima County was very favorable at 140.7 as of 2006 4th quarter, according to the Yakima Chamber of Commerce, as compared to Washington State at 87.0 and the United States at 106.1. The Yakima County first time home buyer index was favorable at 86.3 as compared to Washington State at 50.9 and the United States at 70.2.

Yakima was one of the leading markets out of 75 that experienced price gains across the country, according to NAR Chief Senior Economist Lawrence Yun. "The healthiest housing markets today generally are moderately priced and are experiencing job growth and often population growth, which in turn is supporting strong price growth," Yun says in a statement on Realtor.org.

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